Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Devil's Marbleyard

When out-of-town friends come to stay who have never been here before we always want to show them everything we love about this place.  It's so hard to squeeze everything into their short visits and, of course, we can't.  One of our favorite hikes is practically in our own back yard, the Devil's Marbleyard.  To get there you have to hike for about 40 minutes on the Belfast Trail which gets increasingly steeper as you go and then finally you see "the rocks".  There's no way to describe them and pictures never do them justice. 

I took one of our guests this week to do this hike with me.  I think she was a little bit apprehensive at first but when she started climbing on the boulders I could see she was won over by the beauty, the experience, the views and, most important, the challenge.
This picture is at the bottom of the marbleyard.  It's only a small portion of the climb.  The rocks continue much higher than what you can see in this picture.
Some of the boulders are the size of a car but you can't really see that in the pictures.  I took a few with my camera phone when we were way up there but I can't upload them onto here.  The views from way up are usually amazing but this day we could see maybe 3 or 4 layers of mountain ranges and they were hazy.
 If you look past my karate kid pose you'll see how big some of the boulders are. 

We saw a really cool lizard that was bronze in color and had a blue belly.  You may have to double click on this picture to see the belly.
 I was glad we didn't see any snakes on this hike because Kathy is a self-proclaimed city girl and I didn't think a snake would be something she'd want to take a picture of so she could tell her friends about later.

On the way down the mountain we picked huckleberries (small blueberries) that were very sweet and tasty.  In another few weeks there will be many more to be picked.  James and I have tried growing blueberries many times with very little success so I'm amazed how these huckleberries grow out of the cracks in rocks and in this very dry soil.

Not far away from the Belfast Trail is a really cool swimming hole called the straw pond.  We had planned on jumping in after the hike but there were several people there which spoiled the whole experience so I just showed Kathy.  We discovered this swimming hole many years ago when we read about it in Outdoor Magazine.  It was described by the author as one of his favorite swimming holes in the world.  It got its name, the straw pond, because the locals tell us it used to freeze and they would cover it with straw to keep it frozen so they could cut ice from it for their refrigeration.  I wonder how long ago it was that someone did that.  

It was a great hike with lots of laughs and good conversation but today my knees are a little sore.  Anyone who comes to visit, ask us to take you here.  We've yet to encounter anyone who didn't love it.

If you Google Devil's Marbleyard you'll see many pictures of it that are better than mine.


  1. Mary Pannabecker SteinerJune 17, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Ah, how I remember the day James enticed Anne and me to hike that with him. He convinced Anne it would be easy. She only forgave him after he took us to the swimming hole. He, of course, jumped right in and we followed. I think we were so hot and sweaty that the fact that it felt like ice didn't even permeate. Wish I could jump in right now. Take a swim for me.

  2. My legs still feel like wet noodles from that climb, but it was worth it, the view was stunning! The swimming hole would have looked more inviting if it wasn't full of people. Maybe next time?